Exciting battle looms in Nelson Mandela Bay Classic

Absorbing competition expected among senior professional golfers at Humewood links

Doug McGuigan will be chasing his second title in the Nelson Mandela Bay Classic this week after winning in 2022. The three-day event is part of the Sunshine Senior Tour
STRONG CONTENDER: Doug McGuigan will be chasing his second title in the Nelson Mandela Bay Classic this week after winning in 2022. The three-day event is part of the Sunshine Senior Tour

The scene is set for another intriguing battle as SA’s senior professional golfers attempt to tame the Humewood links in the Nelson Mandela Bay Classic in Gqeberha from Wednesday to Friday.

The three-day event, supported and funded by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, represents the fourth edition of this Sunshine Senior Tour event and though some leading pros are busy campaigning abroad, there is a high-quality field which promises to provide some absorbing competition.

Even if the weather gods smile favourably on the competitors, there will be nobody taking anything for granted on a course which can quickly hurt your chances should there be any lapses of concentration.

Former champions Chris Williams, who won the inaugural event in 2021, and Doug McGuigan (2022) have extensive knowledge of the challenge Humewood represents and you can bank on them again being contenders for the Classic trophy.

But also gunning for the title will be new Senior Tour member Andrew McLardy, who turned 50 in January and came close to winning in his debut event before being edged by James Kingston by one shot in the SA Senior Open in Middelburg recently.

Yet the former Sunshine Tour regular knows that expectations can be dangerous and said it would be a case of focusing on what lay immediately ahead of you.

“At any course, and especially one like Humewood, you have to go through the process of putting in the repetition, preparing well and looking after your management of the course,” McLardy said.

“And then the next objective in hand is just the shot in front of you and hopefully, if it all comes to together, you can put yourself in a position going into the last nine when you have a shot at the title.”

Having played at Humewood in a social round a year ago, McLardy was full of praise for the conditioning of the course.

“It was in incredibly good shape then and it does rate as one of my favourite golf courses,” said the pro golfer who played in the 2006 SA Open at Humewood when, unusually, his final total of 284 was made up of four 71s.

“Humewood has so much history behind it and it’s just so natural, not contrived at all.

“You can just imagine how many years ago the designer stood over the raw land, looking at all the gorse bush and vegetation and decided to shape it into a golf course.

“When you have something natural like that, you appreciate how good it is.”

He admitted that the defence of the course was wind-dependent.

“If there’s little or no wind, then the scoring could be low, but I am looking forward to what it has to offer this week.”

No doubt then, the senior pros will have one eye on their weather apps as they vie for the title in what is fast becoming a cherished title to win in Gqeberha.

The pros will be joined by a field of amateurs in the pro-am for the first two days, before gunning it out for the title in Friday’s final round.



Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.